Department seeks to reduce childhood hunger and combat food inflation
Washington, D.C., August 31, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has partnered with 42 states and territories across the country to provide summer food buying benefits to families with children. These states and territories will provide an estimated $12.5 billion in temporary nutrition benefits to approximately 32 million children.
Summer hunger has always been an issue when schools close, but electronic benefit transfer, commonly known as EBT, is a proven way to help families bear food costs. These benefits are even more critical during times of inflation. The Biden Administration is doing everything it can to ensure all states are positioned to issue P-EBT benefits to families for the summer months when children are at a higher risk for food insecurity.
“Providing children with the food and nutrition they need to live healthy lives is a year-round mission, and we are proud to partner with many states and territories to provide food-buying benefits for this summer,” said Cindy Long, administrator of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. “Our hope is that all states will adopt the program, ensuring that all children have access to the healthy food they need and deserve.”
States and territories with USDA-approved plans to issue the benefits include:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
USDA continues to actively assist other states with their Summer P-EBT plans.
Children are eligible for this temporary nutrition benefit, known as Summer P-EBT, if they are eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the school year, or if they are under age six and live in a household receiving SNAP benefits. The benefits are loaded onto a debit-type card that can be used to purchase food. Families of eligible children typically receive $391 per child for the summer, with higher rates for families in Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories.
There is strong evidence that providing families with summer child food benefits has positive impacts, such as:
- Decreasing by one-third the number of households with children who do not always have enough to eat;
- Reaching children across diverse geographical areas – including difficult-to-reach rural populations; and
- Increasing consumption of nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy.
Families seeking additional food assistance for children in their household can reach out to the USDA National Hunger Hotline, operated by Hunger Free America, which connects people with food assistance in their nearby communities. The hotline can be reached Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) (for English) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) (for Spanish).
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equitable access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food, while building a more resilient food system. Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS is fighting to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, school meals, and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.